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Threads App: What You Need to Know


Threads App: What You Need to Know by Stephanie Katcher, M.S. IMC 2018

You might've heard there's yet another social app out there rivaling Twitter. From Meta, no less. Whether that piques your curiosity, fills you with dread, or you're already over it, there are a few things to know. Now a week into Meta's launch of the Threads app, with 110M+ users and plenty of press, there's a fair amount of skepticism across the board. Threads has much in common with its prehistoric ancestors, which is why ambivalence may best describe its current status with many creators.

What Threads App is and isn’t.

According to Instagram's CEO Adam Mosseri's own Threads post: "The goal is to create a public square for communities on Instagram that never really embraced Twitter and for communities on Twitter (and other platforms) that are interested in a less angry place for conversations, but not (replace) all of Twitter."

Mark Zuckerberg Tweet

Think of Threads as a Twitter-like add-on service to your Instagram ID with its own dashboard and mobile application. While Meta gets the billing, it’s Instagram that leads Threads app development. Despite its splashy launch, the app is still in its infancy. Mosseri’s team will continue rolling out improvements, some obvious, some not so obvious.

In social tech, clunky at launch isn't a complete deal breaker. A slick over-developed channel can fail just as easily. Until you ship the product, you can’t learn anything of long-term value. In this case, Meta stacked the deck by launching from Meta and Instagram's existing frameworks while leaving room in development to accommodate a democratized internet of the future.

The Specs

Threads on phone by Unsplash Image
  • Specs: As a microblogging app, Threads' posts can be up to 500 characters long and include links, photos and videos up to 5 minutes in length. Image size for optimal display TBD. Carousel images are incredibly seamless and smooth accommodating a wide range of pics.
  • Early adopters: With frictionless onboarding of existing Instagram account holders, Threads is primed to scale quickly in 100 countries, including the US, first with iTunes consumers and secondarily with Google Play consumers. For legal concerns, Threads has yet to be available everywhere.
  • Laggerts: Adoption and use are far less likely for those without an Instagram account. Not impossible, just unlikely.
  • Private or Public: By default, those under 16 are set to Private/closed publication; others can replicate their IG preference or go a different route. Consider the more intimate nature of Threads and how your audiences are best served. You can control who can comment on a thread-by-thread basis.
    • Reasons to be Public: Claiming your share of the user base early before things are too cluttered or dead is an opportunity to play. You want exposure, discoverability and the ability to celebrate your uniqueness in a community of your peers.
    • Reasons to be Private: This is still somewhat experimental. You want to cultivate a coterie or exclusive brand experience with influential stakeholders and influencers. On a personal level, you only care about conversations with your exclusive circle.

Profile Deletion is Not Account Deletion

You might’ve heard deleting your Threads account would delete your Instagram. Let’s clarify something real quick. You have an Instagram account and a Threads profile.

Deletions: Deactivating your Threads profile does not impact your Instagram account. Think of Threads as an add-on to your Instagram account not an independent service. Profile deletion is akin to parking a UserID, so the Threads profile and features are dormant. Deleting posts or thread data is a separate process.

Screen capture of threads profile  @mosseri on threads about deleting account.

Word to the wise: For brand protection, before deleting an account in any app, understand if deletion will make the profile handle available for other users or forever unavailable to you and anyone else.

Creators: No Need to Wait, Threads is Geared with Instagram Creator Tools.

Built onto the Instagram platform, Threads quickly plugged users into IG's creator tools. This is about longevity and emphasizing user/creator monetization has more to offer than simply being another social channel with ads.

Threads account status and settings. Threads monetize settings.

Once you install the app here are a few shortcuts to get you going:

  • Turn on monetization features (if already active in your IG creator account) Profile — Settings — Account — Account Status — Monetization
  • Quick Search — long-press on the search icon to quickly search for an account. I’m at @2smile247
  • Quick Follow — tap the plus sign on a profile image
  • Set take a break reminders by going to Profile - Settings - Account - Take a break
  • Start a new thread — hit return three times
  • Choose who can reply to a thread, Anyone, Profiles you follow, Mentioned only
  • Share to Instagram Feed or Stories — tap the share icon.
  • Don’t want to see content from an account again, tap the three dots menu and Mute

Marketing Priority: While Threads may not be your top priority today, it could become your entry point to open networks, so resource accordingly.

Whether you agree with my mum* and Zuck that Twitter is about to join the likes of Myspace or not, the spotlight is on Meta's Threads app for now. Short term, treat it like any new platform. Explore, engage and support creators who align with your purpose. Build and strengthen your on-platform presence to turn a digital asset into an engagement nexus. Long term, recognize that decision-makers and consumers are going to have more control over whose voice they allow into their space. Namely, who's already there that they value. Invest in what works, and experiment with everything else. Even if an app fails to thrive, there are very few drawbacks to early adoption.

Stephanie Katcher is an alumna of the Integrated Marketing Communications Online Master's Degree. She is also a brand ambassador for the Marketing Communications Online Programs and works with brands to go from zero to measurable and meaningful.

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